Settling In

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind — I’ve been busy making new connections, absorbing new material, adjusting to a new living environment, and, most importantly, gaining new perspectives!IMG_1001

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After arriving in Minneapolis and getting a little acquainted with our new home and colleagues, we headed up north to the Duluth area where we explored Lake Superior and visited the Gidaa camp which took place at the Cloquet Forestry Center.  I had previously participated in the Gidaa camp when I was younger, so one of my goals for visiting was to be a good influence on the kids. One student I worked with during our trip had actually just participated in the Minnesota State Science Fair in the Plant Sciences category, something I had done when I was younger, as well. It was really neat to hear about her project and think about my days as aScience Fair participant as well as where she could be going in the future!

IMG_1975Since last week and familiarizing ourselves more with the material and methods we’ll be working with, Team SPIRIT also visited the island we’re researching, which is named (if you can guess) Spirit Island. Thomas Howes, Program Manager for the Fond du Lac Department of Natural Resources and Terry Perrault, Lead Technician, brought our team on an airboat out to Spirit Island, a culturally significant island for the Ojibwe people due to its historical value as a migration stopping place. There have been concerns from the community about the erosion occurring on Spirit Island, which we were able to view up close.

As we dive further and further into defining the cause(s) of this erosion, the prospects of the discoveries that can be made become more and more exciting. And as time goes on, our teams grow closer (we miss the Duluth team every day!) and everything begins to feel more comfortable.

See you soon!



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About rileymhowes

Hello! My name is Riley Howes. I'm a proud enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Bad of Lake Superior Chippewa and hoping to graduate with a degree in Public Policy (possibly Environmental Policy!) from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 2020. I have some previous research experience from previous projects I participated in during high school, although being on Team SPIRIT presents some new opportunities to learn things I was not completely familiar with before.

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